i was a little gorgon child, snakes in my hair growing nappy and long and glistening in the sun. daddy, i said, wrapping myself around a gristly ankle, can i go play with the daffodils in lincoln park? he belched purple smoke and grunted. i pirouetted and sailed off beyond the mountains to my destiny. eagles cried alarumed on their way back to the nest. i zigged, i zagged, playing the multitudinal parts demanded by my latest turn of thought, the voices in my head, chirruping with merry songs. i am galgorna, priestess of the nile, watch the moon bleed into a flood springing life from reticent banks! i bowed backwards in the air, pretending to shower seeds from the air into the stone streets below. i am thrush, listen to my song! i am raven, listen to my laugh! caw, caw caw! i spun around in the air like a whirly did, letting myself slide through the misty breeze. i didn’t know any better; i was happy. i felt this boundless promise within myself, this endless whispering of hope, unconscious energy fluttering innocent in my veins. i saw myself as any little piece of everything i saw, the waves, the sun, the trees to climb in, dancing tall in light. perhaps this is only remembrance. i think we tend to idealize our youthful past, forgetting that it is filled with lurking shadows of terror at every moment, both waking and dreaming. but i certainly was full of life, swimming sprightly to the park. i cart wheeled in the grass, my braids filled with a life of their own. i felt electrical, i felt alive. but it began when i bent to examine closely the daffodils. i crept towards them and stared wide-eyed into their eyes, imagining myself in them, soft, varicosely petalled. the shadow of a cloud slid silently between us and the sun. i seemed to take the daffodils into my eyes. but the more it seemed i could feel their life, their energy, the more they visibly shrank before me, until they withered, they wilted in my eyes. i cried softly and looked about me. i seemed to become aware of myself, knobbly knees spraddled against the grass, hair wagging serpents in the wind, breasts humping apple-like through my t-shirt. i needed someone to smile at me; i remember thinking this quite distinctly: i need someone to notice me and to smile at me. i watched a boy playing with a stick over by the swings. he was pretending it was a sword, running the dialogue as he swiped the air. deep voice: haha! so you think you can beat me, randolph! take this! boy’s voice: it’s time to avenge my father! you must pay! (csshh! csshhh! swords clashing, spittle flying from his mouth as he swung valiantly). i approached him walking, watching him as if my life hung in the balance. he continued to fight, unaware of me as i stopped alongside him. he knocked the sword out of the enemy’s hand and was poised for the final blow, to be accompanied with more heroic words, when he noticed me. he looked at me curiously, appraisingly, in the way little boys do, seeing what i had to offer. i looked into his eyes. he stopped, the sword dropping from his hand, his eyes narrowing. he turned into stone. no, i said. no. come back. i bowed my head and i cried. and i cried. something was different. something had changed in me. and i knew nothing would ever be the same. and i knew that no one could ever come close to me again until i allowed them to destroy me.